Fins cut off from sharks are mostly used for shark fin soup, an East Asian dish which is traditionally served at weddings or New Year celebrations.
Shark fin soup is cruel and wasteful. The fins of sharks are removed, and the animals are often thrown back into the water to die slowly and painfully. Finning is not only inhumane; it results in sharks being caught in unsustainable numbers.
As apex predators, sharks play an essential role in marine ecosystems. Shark finning endangers their survival, and that of the species that rely on them. In addition, shark fin has been shown to contain dangerous levels of mercury.
HSI is reaching out to the public, restaurants and other businesses to educate people about this issue. Raising awareness is key; many say they never realised what impact their consumption had on the environment.
HSI worked hard in the 1990 and 2000s to see that the practice of finning sharks at sea and discarding their bodies is banned throughout Australia.
However, Australian fisheries do still target sharks for both their fins and meat and export fins to supply the demand for shark fin soup.
Fins from 370 tonnes of hammerheads are allowed to be exported from Australia to Asia for use in shark fin soup and many of them are caught in the Great Barrier Reef
It’s vital that conditions on Australian fisheries improve to prevent fins being exported overseas.